The energy efficiency of millions of homes across the UK can be improved simply by replacing existing radiators, according to recent research.

A survey conducted on behalf of the Manufacturers’ Association of Radiators and Convectors (MARC) has shown that 20% of homeowners still have radiators in their homes which do not have convectors.

Radiator manufacturers began attaching convectors to their products in the 1980s, following innovations in the welding process developed by workers within the industry. The convectors allow greater heat emission from the radiators, and, therefore, the generators of the heat, such as boilers, are able to operate more efficiently.

MARC chairman John Colling said: “While it is quite promising that 80% of those who responded to the survey claimed to have radiators with convectors, that still leaves 4.9 million homes using finless products.

“This 4.9 million is simply the baseline figure for what can be done to increase energy efficiency in the home, without having to do anything other than replace old steel panel radiators with new steel panel radiators.

“While the Green Deal focuses on other product areas, radiators are still as efficient, if not more so, than other emitters on the market, and, with these products already installed in 23.6 million of the 26.3 million homes in the UK, changing them and making a difference to the environment couldn’t be easier, or cheaper.

“Additionally, with the cost of radiators in the tens of pounds, rather than hundreds or thousands, it can be done without taking out loans and paying interest, so the financial payback comes more quickly.”

In 2011, MARC launched a report, compiled by industry and academic experts from across Europe, showing that modern steel panel radiators were efficient heat emitters with low water temperature systems, despite the myth that they are less so than other products.